Thursday, December 15, 2011

San Augustine County Run

Today we ventured just 5 miles south of our house to San Augustine County.  San Augustine is the possibly the oldest city in Texas.  We visited four cemeteries and found 3 of the 4 caches.

Usually, we the items we find in geocaches are just junk.  In the Greer Cemetery, we picked up a little plastic token with an etching of rat terrier named Echo.  The person who left it was from Santa Clara, California and his username is winini on  We'll hold on to this one!

Big Bro at Whitton Cemetery
A core value in geocaching is to clean up trash in the area you are caching.  Here is the leftover trash from a party held outside of Whitton Cemetery.  Geocachers call this Cache In - Trash Out or CITO.  It is always good to carry a trash bag with you to clean up litter.  We should strive to leave areas cleaner than we found them.  Geocachers across the country even hold CITO events to clean up parks and other public areas.

Trash found at Whitton Cemetery

Haley Bush Cemetery is a peaceful location

We had wondered about this lake.  We saw a sign directing us to it from US 96.  We were disappointed to learn that this beautiful lake is privately owned.
Bland Lake

 I learned that the original geocache (then called stash) was in Escacada, Oregon.  Here is a picture of the plaque that is placed there.  Okay, now I know that we will have to travel there to find it!  It is 1,782 miles from our house as the crow flies.  It would be 2, 338 miles by car.

Original Stash in Escacada, Oregon

Stay posted for pictures from our next trek!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I love this t-shirt message found on  I was just thinking that it would be easy for a person to get so consumed with hunting geocaches that his attention would be diverted from dangers around him.  This picture is worth a thousand words.  I similar event occurred in June 2011.

Today Big Bro E learned the importance of being aware of one's surroundings when geocaching.  He was fixated on the GPS when he walked through a deep puddle!  At least it was a lesson taught by Ms. Puddles and not by Dr. Highcliff!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Geocaching Rookies

My family took a fall vacation to North Central Texas, West Texas, and East Texas that included stays in Eustace, Amarillo, Palo Duro State Park in Canyon, Caprock Canyons State Park in Quitaque, Isle Du Bois State Park in Pilot Point, and a visit with our family in Texarkana.

While in Eustace, Big Bro E was introduced to geocaching by his friend we were staying with.  He was hooked and the more I learned about their adventure, the more interested I was in trying it for myself.

The next day we traveled to Amarillo for a weekend stay.  Big Bro and I tried our hands at it.  I wrote the coordinates of three caches in the Amarillo area.  My Nokia E71 phone has a GPS, so I figured that would help us find one.  Well, it seems my phone's GPS is inaccurate.  The margin of error was so great that we didn't find a single cache in Amarillo.  If only we had a real handheld GPS.  On a lark, I decided to look on the Amarillo Craigslist for device.  Low and behold, I found a Garmin eTrex monochrome model for $45.  This model didn't have a lot of the wonderful features that higher priced models had, but I figured it would be good enough to use for starters.  I decided to buy it on Tuesday morning.  It had only been used once.  If we would enjoy geocaching as much as I anticipated, we could purchase a better model and keep this as a back up device.  If we didn't enjoy our experience, I knew we could sell it on Craigslist for $45, thus trying it out rent free!

After purchasing the GPS, we traveled to Palo Duro Canyon State Park which is 10 miles east of Canyon, Texas.  The GPS did the trick.  The accuracy of this unit is usually within 14 feet, close enough with a little searching.  Now the whole family was hooked!

Lil Bro. E in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon

Lil Bro E spots a bird's nest in the juniper bush

The view from Juniper Trail (Cliffside) in Palo Duro

Our first Cache find!!!!

Typical ammo container (large cache)

Swag for trade

Our first log book entry!

Big Bro presents Lil bro with 1st swag find!

Beware of falling rocks!

On the trail

View from top of cliff I climbed.  One thing I have learned is that
geocaching will take you to places you would not ordinarily go and
makes you push yourself beyond your perceived limits.  It's difficult
to tell from this photo, but I was WAY up.  If you look closely, you
can see Big Bro is perched halfway down the cliff.   Mama K is not
even visible from way up there!

Papa E and Big Bro E point to cliff.  I was very close to the summit
only minutes before Mama K snapped this pic!

Almost to the van!

Lil Bro snoozed first...

Then Big Bro!

Wednesday morning as we were leaving the canyon.
The trees with the yellow fall foliage only grow in the
valley of the canyon.  On Tuesday, it was 95 degrees.
Wednesday morning it was 45 degrees at noon.  Typical
of West Texas weather, snow accumulated that night after
we left for Caprock Canyons State Park in Quitaque
(Pronounced "Kitty Kway").

Mama K Actually found the first cache.  Papa E
was nervously on the lookout for Western Diamondback
Rattlesnakes.  Park rangers captured one at the ranger's house before
we arrived that was over 5 feet long.  Yikes!

The natural bridge

Caprock Canyons has a free range bison herd.  These two youngsters
were competing for dominance right in front of our vehicle as we
were driving out of the park!  It was now time for a 5 hour drive to
Pilot Point in North Central Texas.  Did I mention that the motor that
controls the driver's seat was broken and I was forced to drive in
a very cramped position?  Did I mention that Texas is a very large state?

Mama K snapped this photo from the driver's side window as I was
driving 70 MPH.  This was somewhere between Quitaque and
Wichita Falls. Texas sunsets are absolutely stunning!

Isle Du Bois State Park

We found our first geocoins.  These items have a code number
imprinted on them.  The object is to log it online, then place it
in another cache.  One can track them on a map as it
circumnavigates the globe.

Never and mean NEVER look for a cache called "The Lost Cache"!!!
This one was WAY off the beaten trail.  Also, ALWAYS check the
weather before a hunt.  With temperatures in the lower forties, a gail
force rainstorm howled in.  We learned that it is doubly difficult to
hike when you are rain soaked and on the verge of hypothermia!

Safe in the van.  "Crank up the heater!"
Mama K called in a pizza order.  I was so soaked, chilled
and sore, that I think the cashier at the
Pizza joint thought I was drunk.

The next morning, we decided to do our first "urban" geotracking on the way out of town.

We found our first micro here.  It was a scroll-like log book placed
in the bottom of a hollowed out stone.

Big Bro finds another micro (film canister) in the hole of this tree.
From here it was off for a 3 1/2 hour trip to Texarkana.

At the end of our vacation, we visited with family in Texarkana, Texas.  We lived in this town for years.  What I discovered on this geocaching adventure is that we had not explored the area in which we lived very well.  I had been to Wright Patman Lake countless times and had never hiked into the woods where my GPS device led us.

Big Bro. E in Woods at Lake Wright Patman

Daddy E's first magnetic micro cache

Momma K's Dad found this before we did.  Don't you love the grin?

Big Bro. E poses like the Slush Puppie

We learned the Welcome to Wake Village sign was an Eagle Scout Project

Same great park, new activity (Spring Lake Park)

We deposited these two at the Arkansas Welcome Center.
One is a Challenge Geocoin and the other is
an honor coin with tracker from the Shreveport,
Louisiana Police Department.  The goal is to move
the coin to Washington, D.C.  It's quite a story.
If you'd like to read about it, click here.  We were
12 for 12 for the day!

For more information about geocaching, click here.

1st Shelby County Geocaching

What many folks do not realize is that there are geocaches all around them.  You will pass them unaware every time you drive to work.  On my first day back at work, I took our senior adults to the Huxley Bay Marina Restaurant on the Toledo Bend Reservoir.  I didn't take any photos of the lake as it looks pathetic because the severe drought we have experienced.  I always like to include an activity when we do anything.  I chose to introduce them to geocaching.  I made them swear they would not tell a soul where the exact location of this cache was.  We found it at the Huxley Volunteer Fire Station.

My son, Big Bro E, was not at all happy that I took somebody besides him no a geocache.  We have found a father and son activity that we mutually enjoy.  What I had not realized was that he wanted this experience to be unique to just the two of us.  I thought it was sweet and I promised I would only do this as a family.

The gentleman in the back wearing the baseball cap actually
found the micro sized pill bottle.  Not one of them had even
heard of geocaching and I think each enjoyed the trip.  It just
goes to show that one is never too old to learn and experience new things.

Thursday after work I decided to take Big Bro on a hunt for caches near our home.  I had some making up to do.  All 5 caches are hidden within a five mile radius in our house.  We drove my Kia Optima and it took us about 2 hours to find all of them.  Let me tell you, we went on some rough country roads.  I think I'm going have to invest in a halt-ton pickup truck if I'm to do anymore rural geocaching.  We even went over a rickety wooden bridge.  My son asked, "Do you really trust this thing, Dad?"

Clever Creek Baptist Church

Buckner Cemetary

Papa E at Clever Creek Baptist Church

Big Bro E at the Neuville School

We have found geocaching to be a fun and inexpensive family activity.  Check back soon to read about our next adventure.  Who knows when or where that will be!

For more information about geocaching, click here.

Geocaching 101: Who, What, Where, When, How?

All of the following information is copied and pasted directly from

What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

How is the game played?

At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
  1. Register for a free Basic Membership at
  2. Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.
  3. Enter your postal code and click "search."
  4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
  7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
  8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
There are many other levels to the game. Keep reading the guide to learn more!
What are the rules of geocaching?
  1. If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.
  2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
  3. Log your experience at
What do I need to go geocaching?
The only necessities are a GPS device or a GPS-enabled mobile phone so that you can navigate to the cache, and a Membership.
Where are geocaches located?
Geocaches can be found all over the world. It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner. These locations can be quite diverse. They may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street.
Are there different types of geocaches?
Yes. There are currently over a dozen "cache types" in geocaching, with each cache type being a different variation of the game. See the full list of Geocache Types.
How did geocaching start?
It's a very cool story, actually. So cool that it deserves its own page.
Many other questions are answered here!
Click here to return to 3E+K blog!